August 18, 2022
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Fiji beats champs NZ, remains on track

Host nation Fiji keeps its title hopes in the 2022 FANCA World Cup on track after beating defending champions and favourites New Zealand 2-0 in a thriller at Prince Charles Park in Nadi on Thursday.

Led Abbu Zahid, the Intiaz Khan coached side played with a lot of confidence and matched the more experienced and superior Kiwis in all aspects of the match.

New Zealand fielded experienced Ali Nazari from Afghanistan and Somalian striker Jama Boss in their starting lineup.

 Zainal Ali and midfielder Mohammed Sahzil Ali missed clear opportunities from just in front of the goal while New Zealand goalkeeper Mohammed Moshif daringly saved a Zibraaz Sahib free kick in the 22nd minute.

On the other hand, James Hoyt and Sohail Basha threatened with good attempts, only to be denied by goalkeeper Alzaar Alam.

The Kiwis made a tactical change at the commencement of the second spell with former Nadi rep Imran Shah replacing Fauzul Ahmed in midfield.

Referee Deepak Raj flashed a yellow card to Fitsum Aden for a foul play in the 39th minute which gave Fiji a free kick and it was set up well by William Valentine for Mosese Balenagaga who slammed the ball over the crossbar.

After beautifully beating three New Zealand players, Shazil Ali was fouled by Aleem Sheik where Sheik received a yellow card and Fiji a free kick which Valentine again took, but on this ocassion it connected well with Zainal Ali who headed it into the roof of the net to give Fiji the lead in the 46th minute.

Stylish striker Mohammed Zaid doubled Fiji's lead in the 52nd minute with a stunning left foot strike.

The Tebara Halal Meats sponsored Fiji plays its third match against Australia at 9pm tomorrow.  

The teams:

New Zealand- Mohammed Moshif (GK), Shuiab Khan, Sohail Basha, Aleem Sheik, Nazim Sharif, Ishtiyaq Shah, James Hoyt, Ali Nazari, Fitsum Aden, Fauzul Ahmed (Imran Shah), Jama Boss.

Fiji- Alzaar Alam (GK), Zibraaz Sahib, William Valentine, Abbu Zahid (C), Zainal Ali, Mohammed Shazil Ali (Ruel Rahil), Mohammed Zaid, Mosese Balenagaga, Aaron Edward, Afraz Ali, Emosi Navaba.

By Romeka Romena

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